One of the many unfortunate realities of the Interwebs is it gives people the platform to take an eye-catching picture, put a funny caption over it, and run it as a joke. Internet users rarely think about the people they can hurt on their way to getting a few likes and retweets. Take for example Leon Mitchell, a 31-year-old man from Tacoma, Washington, who survived nasopharyngeal cancer, a rare form of cancer, only to be turned into a meme that draws comparisons to reigning NBA MVP Steph Curry.

"The thing that I think is most important to tell people (is that) the effects these types of things can have on a person is monumental!" Mitchell told BuzzFeed. "It's very easy to post something with no prior knowledge or understanding about someone or something for laughs but at the expense of who and what?? We have to learn more empathy, compassion, and kindness honestly."

The meme, which began circulating in December 2015, featured a photo of Mitchell next to the caption "Meth Curry." Nasopharyngeal cancer effects the upper part of the throat, behind the nose and near the base of the skull, which resulted in certain physical changes Mitchell could not control. While the Internet chose to joke Mitchell was a methamphetamine user, he's actually "a father, husband, survivor, mentor, community advocate, positive motivational speaker, and successful business owner."


So earlier today I was the butt of a not so funny meme "METH CURRY" directed at the outward physical appearance that I display. The fact that the meme was posted was a reminder of how distasteful and cruel people can be without background knowledge of the person in the bullseye of the target. I've struggled deeply for years with the devastating effects cancer treatment plagued my body with. The massive destruction it took on my neck, shoulders, nose, throat, and ability to function normally. I though have overcome all of those things and become so much stronger then the after effects of cancer treatment, and proudly bare myself and ravaged appearance to the world with KNOE shame!! I am strong enough to endure these attacks after years of rebuilding. However as we look at the power story I explain, let's remember these types of social media attacks on people can be massively detrimental to some who still battle with insecurities and uncomfortability with themselves and their battles. If we are going to allow something like this go viral Let's do it for the right reasons! I am more then a meme, I am a father, husband, survivor, mentor, community advocate, and Positive motivational speaker. Proud to have endured and conquered everything I have!!!! #FCANCER  #FUCKCANCER #SURVIVOR #TEAMKNOE #KNOTNOWOREVER #AMERICANCANCERSOCIETY #STUARTSCOTT #POSITIVITY #LOVE #LIVESTRONG  #POSITIVITYOVEREVERYTHING #FIGHT #FIGHTER  #NBA #SICK #METHCURRY Follow @knoe_clothing and get the real message

A photo posted by Leon Mitchell II (@mr_knoe) on